There’s just no satisfying England coach Eddie Jones. His team had just reaffirmed its dominance of northern-hemisphere rugby by retaining the Six Nations in spectacular style, tying New Zealand’s tier-one record of 18 straight wins in the process, when Jones laid down another challenge to England’s players.
“We want to achieve greatness,” Jones said, matter-of-factly. “They are in the dressing room now, they are talking about it. They want to do it.”
For Jones, the 61-21 thrashing of Scotland at Twickenham on Saturday was merely another steppingstone on England’s four-year journey to the top of the world game.
The next task is to beat Ireland in Dublin next Saturday to secure a second straight Grand Slam, a feat only five other teams have achieved.
Then, it’s about knocking the world champion All Blacks off their perch.
“We aren’t beating our chests, saying we are the No. 1 team in the world,” Jones said. “We want to be the No. 1 team in the world and we’re not, so we have to get better.”
England’s record under Jones is now played 17, won 17 after dismantling sorry Scotland in an unexpected mismatch in the 136th Calcutta Cup.
Jonathan Joseph scored three of the hosts’ seven tries as the English recorded their highest points total against their oldest international rival and equaled the biggest margin of victory in this fixture, from 2001.
“We are trying to move away from the tag of plucky losers, but that wasn’t even that,” Scotland captain John Barclay said. “We were useless.”
The Scots were talked up massively in the buildup after impressive wins over Ireland and Scotland but they failed to handle the occasion and the increased weight of expectation. They remain without a win at Twickenham since 1983, and couldn’t get out of southwest London quick enough after their hopes of landing a first Triple Crown in 27 years and a first championship since 1999 were ruthlessly torn apart.
England’s players, on the other hand, took a moment to enjoy their success.
Captain Dylan Hartley walked around the field as darkness fell over Twickenham, holding the Six Nations trophy in one hand and waving to jubilant England fans with the other. Teammates in front of him chatted and laughed.
“We’ll have a couple of quiet drinks tonight,” Jones said, “and then tomorrow night we’ll get together and onto Ireland.”
The English have been slow starters in this campaign. Not here. The game was virtually over by halftime, which England went into leading 30-7.
Scotland’s nightmare first half comprised of hooker Fraser Brown getting sin-binned inside two minutes for a tip-tackle on Elliot Daly, strike runner Stuart Hogg going off for a Head Injury Assessment on 18 minutes and never returning, replacement center Mark Bennett going off on a stretcher, and pitiful wide defense that Joseph skewered with some superb running angles.
Back in the team after being dropped to the bench against Italy last time out, Joseph sped through opposite center Alex Dunbar’s weak tackle 40 meters out with his first touch of the ball and cruised unchallenged over the line in the 3rd.
Owen Farrell converted, kicked two penalties either side of Scotland flyhalf Finn Russell missing touch with a penalty, and played a part in a backline move that saw Joseph break the line, slalom past covering defender Tim Visser and dot under the crossbar.
Behind 20-0 after 25 minutes, it was already getting embarrassing for the Scots. But on their first real attacking opportunity, they went for a lineout instead of kicking for goal and prop Gordon Reid barreled over from close range for a try.
It was brief respite because Farrell booted another penalty and Joseph ran another sensational angle off Farrell’s pop- pass and laid on Anthony Watson — Daly’s replacement — to sprint over just before halftime.
The second half was damage limitation for Scotland but Joseph couldn’t be stopped, completing his hat trick in the 43rd by running onto scrumhalf Ben Youngs’ pass in a move off a scrum.
“Credit to the boys,” Joseph said, “I just ran the lines outside that they created. The holes were there for me.”
Scotland center Huw Jones’ try double, in the 50th and 69th minutes, were blips as England passed the half-century mark with fit-again No. 8 Billy Vunipola rolling over from a maul in the 58th, and Danny Care sniping over in the 72nd and again in stoppage time.
Farrell’s final conversion took him to 26 points and ensured a 40-point margin of victory.
England has an unassailable eight-point lead over second-place Ireland after four rounds.
“We are one year into a four-
year project,” Jones said. “We’ve done reasonably well in the first year but we want to get better.” Steve Douglas, AP